Election Live Updates: Romney Backs Moving Forward on Supreme Court Pick, All But Assuring That Trump Has the Votes

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Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, said on Tuesday that he would support moving forward to fill the Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, all but assuring that President Trump has the votes he needs to cement a conservative majority on the high court.

In a statement Tuesday morning, Mr. Romney echoed Republican leaders who have said historical precedent supported filling the seat in an election year when the presidency and Senate were controlled the same party.

“The Constitution gives the president the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees,” he said. “Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.”

Mr. Romney, the 2012 presidential nominee who is one of the few Republicans who have been willing to criticize Mr. Trump, had been closely watched as a potential defector given his past breaks with the president, including when he voted to convict him in the impeachment trial and remove him from office.

But with the rest of his party quickly swinging into line, it had become clear that Mr. Romney’s opposition would not have been sufficient to block an election-season confirmation.

It appeared Tuesday that Republican leaders and Mr. Trump would hold defections within their own party to just two: Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who have said they would not support filling the vacancy so close to the election.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has not yet indicated whether he will try to fill the seat before Election Day or just by the end of the year.

Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

President Trump will announce his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday, he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday morning.

“I will be announcing my Supreme Court Nominee on Saturday, at the White House! Exact time TBA,” Mr. Trump wrote.

On Monday, Mr. Trump had said that he would wait until after funeral services for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had ended before naming her replacement but that it could come as soon as Friday.

Even ahead of Mr. Trump’s announcement, Senator Mitch McConnell has started locking down Republican votes — all as Election Day looms in six weeks.

Two more Republican senators, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who were seen as possible holdouts in the push to quickly fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, signaled on Monday they were unlikely to stand in the way of replacing her. Mr. Grassley said he would support moving forward to fill the vacancy before the election; Mr. Gardner said he would “vote to confirm” a “qualified nominee.”

One of the thorniest questions is on timing.

Mr. Trump himself declared that there was “a great deal of time before the election” before departing for a campaign trip to Ohio on Monday. But he notably deferred to Mr. McConnell about when any vote would be set. “Up to Mitch in the Senate,” he said.

Republicans have watched as Democratic Senate candidates and incumbents have experienced a tremendous outpouring of donations in recent days. Pressing through a nominee in the lead-up to the election could even further inflame the Democratic grass-roots and put at risk Republican senators who will face voters in battleground states, including Mr. Gardner, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who is up for re-election this year, is one of two Republicans who have already objected to a pre-election vote, leaving Mr. McConnell with limited room to maneuver.

Waiting has severe risks, too, especially if Mr. Trump is defeated or Republicans cede their majority.

But while the Supreme Court fight consumes Washington, the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., made no reference to it in a speech in Wisconsin on Monday that he delivered while wearing a face mask.

He addressed the deaths of nearly 200,000 Americans from the coronavirus.

“I worry we’re risking becoming numb to the toll that it has taken on us and our country and communities like this,” he said. “We can’t let it happen.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Democratic strategists working on Senate campaigns from Alaska to Maine to North and South Carolina described a spontaneous outpouring of donations the likes of which they had never seen.

The influx of cash will allow Democrats the financial freedom to broaden their map of pickup opportunities, or press their financial advantage in top battlegrounds already saturated with advertising.

By Monday, Democratic contributors had given more than $160 million online through ActBlue, the leading site for processing digital donations. ActBlue broke one record after another — its biggest hour in 16 years, its busiest day, its busiest weekend — after Justice Ginsburg’s death.

An estimated tens of millions of dollars went toward efforts to retake the Senate, where the acrimonious confirmation fight to replace Justice Ginsburg will occur.

At least 13 Democratic candidates or senators raised more than $1.3 million each since Friday from a single fund-raising effort, which included Dr. Gross, a former orthopedic surgeon.

And in a closely contested race in North Carolina that could tip the balance in the chamber, Cal Cunningham, the Democrat challenging Senator Thom Tillis, enjoyed a $6 million influx of cash.

As impressive as Mr. Cunningham’s haul was, the Democratic candidates in Maine, Arizona, Kentucky and South Carolina are believed to have fared even better.

“Righteous anger is being translated into political action,” said Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, who helped raise $122,000 in online donations for Mr. Cunningham over the weekend.

Credit…Kathryn Gamble for The New York Times

President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. are tied for support, 47 percent to 47 percent, among likely voters in Iowa, a state Mr. Trump won by 9 percentage points in 2016, according to a poll released on Tuesday and conducted for the Des Moines Register by Selzer & Co.

The survey, one of the most highly regarded polls in a perpetual battleground state, found a dramatic and widening gender divide: Mr. Trump leads, 57 to 36 percent, among men, while Mr. Biden holds a virtually identical advantage, 57 to 37 percent, among women.

“I don’t know that there’s any race in the history of presidential polling in Iowa that shows this kind of division,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., told the Register.

Mr. Trump carried men in Iowa by 28 percent four years ago. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, won women voters by 7 percent, a much smaller margin than what the poll found for Mr. Biden.

“If Biden wins, it’s because women are steering the ship,” Ms. Selzer said.

The poll represents a static race likely to be decided by relatively small movement on the margins. Only 3 percent of respondents were undecided, with 4 percent throwing their support to third-party candidates.

The survey of 658 likely voters was conducted Sept. 14 through 17, and has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

Iowa, known for its role at the start of the presidential primary process, has carved out a unique niche at the end of this general election.

Virtually every race in the state this year, from the presidential race, to the Senate contest between the incumbent Republican, Joni Ernst, and her Democratic opponent, Theresa Greenfield, to the fight over its four House seats, is more or less deadlocked, polls have found.

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged their party leaders on Tuesday to keep the House in session in Washington until Congress passes another pandemic relief bill, underscoring the simmering frustration among centrist lawmakers in both parties — many of whom are facing difficult re-election battles — about the failure to reach agreement on another round of aid.

“It has been suggested by some that Members of Congress are anxious to return to their districts to campaign in advance of the November 3rd election, even if that means leaving Capitol Hill without passing another COVID-19 relief bill,” the lawmakers, led by Representative Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine, wrote.

“We want to be very clear that we do not in any way agree with this position,” they continued, adding that “our constituents do not want us home campaigning while businesses continue to shutter.”

20 Democrats and 14 Republicans signed onto the letter, which was addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader.

Facing complaints from moderate Democrats frustrated by the lack of progress, Ms. Pelosi last week pledged to keep the House in session until there was a deal.

But under the remote voting rules the House adopted during the pandemic, representatives have largely stayed at home in their districts while waiting for a vote to be called. That posture is untenable for many politically vulnerable members, who prefer the optics of being seen working toward a solution in Washington rather than campaigning at home.

Many lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill have all but given up on passing a new relief bill into law before Election Day, a stance that has unnerved those facing re-election who dread returning to their constituents without having approved more aid.

The House passed a $3.4 trillion stimulus measure in May, but Senate Republicans rejected it in favor of a narrower measure, which failed.

Credit…Democratic National Convention, via Reuters

Senator Bernie Sanders is planning to mount an aggressive campaign to counter potential attempts by President Trump to delegitimize the results of the November election, warning that Democrats and Republicans alike must do “everything that we can to prevent that from happening.”

In a phone interview on Monday evening, Mr. Sanders said he would spend the next six weeks urging the country to prepare for a “nightmare scenario” in which Mr. Trump declares himself the winner of the election and refuses to step down even if he loses.

As part of his effort, he is set to deliver a speech in Washington on Thursday — his first in-person appearance related to the election since before he dropped out of the presidential race — to outline in stark terms the danger that he says Mr. Trump poses to the nation’s democracy.

“We are living in an unprecedented and dangerous moment — extremely dangerous moment — in American history,” Mr. Sanders said. “And what this speech is going to be about is whether or not the United States of America will continue to be a democracy and a nation ruled by law and our Constitution.”

In the interview, Mr. Sanders said that he thought there was an “excellent chance” that Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, would win the election, but that he was worried that the Biden campaign was not doing enough to reach “nontraditional voters,” including young people and Latinos.

He said he was planning to hold a virtual town hall event on Tuesday with Julián Castro, the former housing secretary under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Trump, who has consistently trailed Mr. Biden in national and swing-state polls, has spent months trying to sow doubt about voting and the election. The president has claimed without evidence that mail voting will lead to “the greatest Rigged Election in history”; has urged people in North Carolina to illegally vote twice to stress-test the election system; and has even suggested delaying the election, which he cannot do on his own.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. declined on Monday to say whether he would consider adding seats to the Supreme Court, sidestepping an idea being pushed by some progressives after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In an interview on Monday with WBAY, a Wisconsin television station, Mr. Biden was asked if he would consider adding justices to the court if President Trump succeeded in appointing a successor to Justice Ginsburg, Mr. Biden won the election and Democrats won the Senate.

“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer that question,” responded Mr. Biden, who had previously expressed opposition to expanding the court. “Because it would shift all the focus. That’s what he wants. He never wants to talk about the issue at hand. He always tries to change the subject.”

Instead, Mr. Biden said, “the discussion should be about why he is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what the founders wanted.” The former vice president added that filling the seat now, as votes are already being cast, would be a “fundamental breach of constitutional principle.”

In a speech on Sunday, Mr. Biden urged Senate Republicans to “follow your conscience” and refrain from rushing a nominee through the Senate in the final six weeks before the election.

Mr. Biden and other Democrats are facing pressure from some progressives to add seats to the court if Mr. Trump succeeds in installing a nominee and pushing the court’s ideological tilt further to the right.

Before Justice Ginsburg’s death, Mr. Biden had firmly opposed adding more justices.

“We’ll live to rue that day,” he said last year.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The North Carolina Republican Party spent $213,000 on glossy mailers sent out in August to voters believed to be supporters of President Trump.

“Urgent Notice,” the mailers warned, alongside a photo of the president. On the flip side, voters found a tear-off application for an absentee ballot.

“Are you going to let the Democrats silence you?” the mailers asked, urging Republicans to fill out the application and send it in to obtain a mail-in ballot.

Similar appeals have flooded mailboxes in Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and other battleground states, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by state Republican parties to promote absentee voting, reinforced by text-message blasts and robocalls from Mr. Trump’s campaign and its surrogates.

Yet those efforts may have been undercut by Mr. Trump himself, whose repeated assertions that the mail-in voting is rigged, including several focusing on North Carolina, may have scared away his own supporters. His messaging could be one reason Republicans lag far behind Democrats in requesting mail ballots in North Carolina and elsewhere, experts said.

“It’s unbelievable and obviously at cross purposes with maximizing the Republican vote,” said Bill Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts who challenged Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination this year. “The president is definitely inflicting a leak below the water line.”

Credit…Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

TAMPA, Fla. — As Joseph R. Biden Jr. has resumed campaigning in key battlegrounds, his visits have acquired a distinctly stealthy quality. This can be jarring for a candidate whose zeal for face-to-face campaigning, wading into crowds and lingering on rope lines is well known.

“There is no more of a shake-your-hand, pat-you-on-the-back kind of guy than Joe Biden,” said Rick Bloomingdale, the president of the Pennsylvania A.F.L.-C.I.O., who joined Mr. Biden during a Labor Day visit to Harrisburg, Pa. “This has to be killing him.”

Mr. Biden is campaigning on the point that his dedication to staying away from his supporters is proof he cares about them — and that President Trump’s insistence on holding rallies shows he cares only about himself. “The folks who come are packed in tight as they can be, risking disease, mostly without masks,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Trump’s rallies during an appearance of his own on Monday at an aluminum manufacturing facility in Manitowoc, Wis. “But not Trump. He safely keeps his distance.”

Still, Mr. Biden’s minimal footprint on the ground tends to stoke anxiety among Democrats that their vehicle for defeating the president has a deficit in effort and enthusiasm, especially compared with an opponent whose big-splash approach (boat flotillas, fully resumed campaign events) is anything but reluctant.

Credit…Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

MIAMI — As a young associate in a prestigious Miami law firm, Barbara Lagoa took on an unusual pro bono case taking on the Clinton administration, representing a relative of a 5-year-old boy found off the Florida coast after his mother had drowned trying to cross over from Cuba. His name was Elián González.

Federal agents would eventually seize Elián and return him to his father in Cuba, setting off political shock waves that arguably cost former Vice President Al Gore the 2000 presidential election when he lost Florida.

That formative episode helped shape Judge Lagoa’s career as a federal prosecutor and appellate judge and thrust her into South Florida’s political culture, dominated by Cuban-American Republicans.

It is an electoral dynamic that remains powerful two decades later and has helped Judge Lagoa, who now sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, emerge as an attractive choice for President Trump as he considers whom he will name to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

“She’s highly thought of,” Mr. Trump, who is scheduled to travel to Miami this week, told reporters on Monday. “I’m getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of people. She has a lot of support. I don’t know her, but I hear she’s outstanding.”

Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday offered a blunt response to voters concerned about socialism: Look at who won the Democratic primary.

On a campaign trip to Wisconsin, Mr. Biden was asked in an interview with a local television station, WLUK, to address voters “worried about socialism.”

“I beat the socialist,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s how I got elected. That’s how I got the nomination. Do I look like a socialist? Look at my career — my whole career. I am not a socialist.”

Mr. Biden was referring to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist whom he defeated to capture the Democratic presidential nomination.

Mr. Sanders has endorsed Mr. Biden and the two teamed up to form a series of “unity task forces,” which offered policy recommendations in July.

Mr. Biden struggled to excite young voters in the primary, and winning over Mr. Sanders’s supporters — including young progressives — has been an important task for him.

President Trump and his campaign have tried to tie Mr. Biden to the left wing of the Democratic Party, arguing he is a tool for the far left who would advance their goals, despite his long career as a politician in the mainstream of the party.

They pushed that message again in response to a speech Mr. Biden gave in Wisconsin on Monday, with a Trump campaign spokesman, Hogan Gidley, describing the Democratic nominee as “a prisoner of the radical, extreme, socialist left.”

Daily schedules

Here’s where the presidential and vice-presidential candidates will be today. All times Eastern.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

4:45 p.m. — Hosts virtual fund-raising reception.

Evening — Hosts virtual fund-raising reception.

President Trump

7 p.m. — Delivers remarks at a campaign rally in a hangar at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Senator Kamala Harris

Afternoon — Tours small businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Flint, Mich.

4:30 p.m. — Participates in “Shop Talk” round-table conversation with Black men in Detroit.

6:25 p.m. — Participates in a voter mobilization event to mark National Voter Registration Day in Detroit.

Vice President Mike Pence

3 p.m. — Delivers remarks at a campaign rally at the AutoServ Hangar in Gilford, N.H.

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